Skip to main content

Full text of "What to do about Market Street : a prospectus for a development program"

See other formats

















Ja SZ3io 


Not to be taken from the Library 






LIVINGSTON AND BLAYNEY, City and Regional Planners • In association with Lawrence Halprin and Associ- 
ates, Landscape Architects • Rockrise and Watson, Architects • Larry Smith and Co., Real Estate Consultants 


Memorandum . > 

SUBJECT: Action on Market Street 

TO: Market Street Property Owners and Businessmen 

Honorable Mayor and Board of Supervisors , City and County of San Francisco 

FROM: Market Street Development Project Steering Committee 

On June 6 , 1962 , several leading businessmen and property owners on Market Street met 
with officers of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Renewal Association to discuss the 
future of Market Street - San Francisco's main thoroughfare. The meeting ended with 
agreement on three objectives: to transform Market Street into one of the world's most 
attractive boulevards; to rid Market Street of its shabby atmosphere; and to put new life 
into Market Street as a center of Bay Area business , shopping, and entertainment. It was 
further agreed that a program or plan of action was needed. 

The Market Street representatives who were present organized as a steering committee 
and temporarily affiliated with SPUR for administrative and technical assistance. Recog- 
nizing the complexity of the problems of Market Street , the committee retained a team of 
consultants - urban planners, designers, and real estate experts. Their assignment was 
to survey and analyze Market Street, define its problems, and suggest an approach to its 
revitalization . The report that follows this memorandum is the result of these studies . 

We propose a plan of action that will carry out the recommendations of the report. It is 
not a rigid program. It is flexible and undoubtedly will be modified as progress is made. 
But its objectives are clear, and the program will furnish the necessary guide lines for a 
Market Street development project to begin at once. 

The Problem 

Market Street is a paradox. It is San Francisco's most famous street. It is wide, busy, 
and important. But it is also congested, dirty, and unattractive. In places Market Street 
is bright and cheerful; in other places it is ugly and depressing. Market Street is San 
Francisco's main artery; a wide river of traffic flows from Twin Peaks to the Ferry Build- 
ing. But Market Street also is a barrier between north and south in downtown San Fran- 
cisco. Market Street lies at the heart of San Francisco's office, retail, and cultural life, 
and at the doorstep of the City government. But Market Street also houses penny arcades , 
risque movies , and cheap merchandising outlets . 

Something must be done about Market Street, but it must be something that strikes at the bas- 
ic issues. No single element alone is responsible for Market Street's condition. No simple 
solution will solve its problems. The plan of action must be comprehensive. But to devise 
such a plan , we first must know Market Street and understand its peculiarities and troubles . 

The Justification 

The land and buildings on Market Street east of Van Ness Avenue represent more than 6 per 
cent of the City's total assessed property valuation. Here is almost 10 per cent of the City's 
assessed land value. Market Street serves a number of vital functions and is virtually five 
streets in one. It is a complex of large corporate headquarters , of banks , of offices , of 
major stores, and of theaters. In addition, it is the focus of the City's public transporta- 
tion system. Market Street also is a gateway to the Bay, to Twin Peaks, to the financial 
district, to the downtown shopping area, and to the Civic Center. It is all these and more. 

But today Market Street is in trouble . Property values elsewhere in the city and in the Bay 
Area have increased phenomenally in recent years , but property values on Market Street , 
the virtual center of the metropolitan region, have not been keeping pace. Yet because of 
its location and because of its traditional role , taxes on Market Street appear to be dis- 
proportionately high, reflecting not its current position, but its past importance. 

The Treatment 

A broad range of items needs immediate attention to achieve the committee's objectives. 

1. Land use and transportation: 

More efficient use of Market Street properties . 

Increased business activity. 

More pleasant conditions for pedestrians. 

Better public transportation and less traffic congestion. 

More off-street parking. 

Handsome buildings and store fronts . 

Better designed, more effective signs, both public and private. 

More attractively designed street furniture, such as benches, newsstands, and 

litter cans . 

Beautiful landscaping , tree planting , fountains , and sculpture . 

Squares , plazas , and arcades where people can gather and enjoy themselves . 
Public action: 

To regulate parking. 

To facilitate traffic movement. 

To curtail loitering. 

To reduce litter. 

To improve street cleaning. 

4. Public relations: 

To convince Market Street property owners and businessmen of the benefits they 
will receive - in increased property values and greater sales volumes - if they 
invest in a new Market Street by participating in the program . 

To convince the community that an efficient and attractive Market Street is im- 
portant to the city as a whole . 

To encourage City officials to put their confidence in the future of Market Street 
and to lend the necessary public support for its revitalization . 

Action could begin at once on any of these facets. But the plan of action must aim at carry- 
ing out all phases in a carefully thought-out , coordinated program . 

The Program 

If the program is to be effective, it must be a joint private -public effort. The Market Street 
interests and the City and County of San Francisco must share the responsibilities and costs . 
The property owners and businessmen should take the initiative and exercise continuing leader- 
ship in preparing and carrying out the improvement plan . Specifically , the private responsi- 
bilities will include: 

Economic and real estate analyses . 

Designs for the improvement of every block. 

Designs for street furniture and landscaping. 

Financial feasibility studies. 

Coordinating public and private improvement projects . 

An effective public relations and promotion program . 

Supporting the Police Department in enforcing litter and loitering laws and screening 
of operating permits . 

The City will be concerned with the design and construction of the public works that will 
improve Market Street and the adjacent downtown area. Specifically, City responsi- 
bilities will include: 

Integrating the City's downtown plan with Market Street's development program. 
Detailed designs for the Ferry Park area and the Market-Powell-5th Street area. 

Coordination of the Golden Gateway and South of Market redevelopment projects 
with the Market Street improvement plan . 

Scheduling public improvements such as street landscaping, plazas, arcades, and parking 
garages to tie in with private projects . 

Improving mass transit and speeding traffic flow on Market Street. 
Enforcement programs of the Police Department and other City departments to elimi- 
nate violations of the litter and loitering laws , the building code, and other ordinances. 

Evaluation of building codes and standards , zoning and sign regulations , and others 
that affect remodelling and new construction. 

Evaluation of assessment practices as they affect Market Street's current problems 
and future plans . 

The City should designate a high official to coordinate City actions with plans of the Market 
Street group. City funds should be appropriated to assist in the preparation of plans and 
programs, and recommended public works should be scheduled in the City's Capital Im- 
provement Program to guarantee their timely construction . 

The Next Step 

As the next step in carrying out the development program, the present Steering Committee 
will be formally organized as a permanent Market Street Development Committee with 
broad representation from property owners, large firms, and small businesses. The 
Committee will estimate the amounts needed to finance the studies and plans recommended 
in this report and to hire a full time project coordinator . Funds will be sought from 
Market Street property owners and business firms and from the City. An equitable formula 
will be devised for private and public participation. 

The next steps the Committee will take are: 

Recruitment of the coordinator. 

Consultation with property owners and businessmen planning improvements. 

Establishment of liaison with City Hall , the Police Department , and the Bay Area 
Rapid Transit District. 

Negotiating contracts for economic and design studies for Market Street improvement. 

Negotiating contracts for preparing designs for new street furniture. 

Preparing agreements to be entered into by property owners and businessmen to 
achieve more effective use of private signs. 

Evaluation of Market Street assessment policies and practices. 

The essential ingredient of a successful development program is a commitment by the 
Market Street interests to assume leadership and to take action. Now is the time I 


Market Street Yesterday and Today 

San Francisco is the great world-city of the West . and Mar- 
ket Street is San Francisco's most important thoroughfare. 
It has played this role since the mid-19th century when Jas- 
per O'Farrell laid out the 120-foot artery cutting diagonal- 
ly across the gridiron street system established earlier to 
the north. Seen from surrounding hilltops or from the air, 
Market Street from the Ferry Building to Twin Peaks is the 
dominant element in the pattern of the city. Because of its 
focal location , most of the downtown transit lines converge 
on Market Street. It is San Francisco's ceremonial avenue, 
the line of march for major parades. It is the city's place 
of public celebration. New Years Eve on Market Street is 
a local tradition. On V -J Day and on other great occasions 
the crowds instinctively have gathered there . For many dec- 
ades Market Street was the commercial heart of the city and 
its showcase to the world. But in recent years Market Street 
has changed - and not always for the better. Recognition of 
this fact and of the tremendous values that are at stake have 
led to this study of the need for Market Street improvement. 
The purpose of the study is to determine what steps must 
be taken to ensure a prosperous financial future for Market 
Street - a goal that is equally important for Market Street 
businessmen and property owners and for the City . The por- 
tion of Market Street selected for examination is the princi- 
pal high value commercial frontage from the Embarcadero 
to Van Ness Avenue. More than six per cent of the City's 
total assessed valuation is concentrated here . While it is 
customary to discuss this part of Market Street as if it were 
a unit, between the Embarcadero and Van Ness there really 
are five different Market Streets . 

Market Streets 

1 . Gateway Sector 

The lower end of Market west to Drumm and Main Streets 
is primarily oriented to the waterfront . Except for the World 
Trade Center in the remodelled north wing of the Ferry 
Building and the block-long Southern Pacific Building , most 
of the structures are small and are in from fair to very poor 
condition. Until the bridges were built, the Ferry Building 
was the principal gateway to San Francisco, and these were 
thriving blocks . But the end of ferry service led to deteri- 
oration of the area. Now this part of Market Street is quiet. 
There is relatively little traffic, and there are few pedes- 
trians except during weekday rush hours when Marin com- 
mute busses terminate. at the Ferry Building. At night the 
area is deserted except for seamen returning to their ships 
and elderly male pensioners who live in nearby cheap hotels. 

and eight of these are over fifteen stories. The Sheraton- 
Palace Hotel is a prestigeful anchor on the south side of Mar- 
ket Street. 

Although all but twelve of the buildings in this sector are 
over 40 years old, most of them are in good condition and 
are well maintained. There are no ground-floor vacancies. 
Since 1945 on each block from Main to 2nd Street, on both 
sides of Market, between half a million and a million dollars 
has been spent on modernization . From New Montgon; 
3rd Street , between three and four million has beenim 
in alterations . (These are building permit figures; probably 
more has been spent.) 

On weekdays this is a busy portion of Market Street, bus- 
tling with prosperous looking businessmen and smartly 
dressed office girls. Many East Bay commuters walk on 
Market en route to the Transbay Terminal. At night there 
is little activity except at the Palace Hotel. 

3 . Central Retail Sector 

2. Financial Sector 

At Drumm and Main Streets the character of Market Street 
changes radically. West to Kearny and 3rd Streets it is a 
vital part of the financial district. Great corporations, in- 
cluding Matson Navigation , Pacific Gas and Electric , Spreck- 
els Sugar, Pacific Greyhound Lines, International Business 
Machines , Union Pacific Railroad , Union Carbide , Shell Oil , 
Crown Zellerbach, Wells Fargo Bank, Crocker -Anglo Bank, 
Bank of America, and the Examiner, have their headquar- 
r major branch offices on this part of Market Street 
and on the intersecting corners directly exposed to it. There 
are seventeen office buildings more than ten stories high, 

From west of Kearny-3rd Streets to west of Powell-5th 
Streets , Market Street assumes a different role ; it i 
marilypart of the central retail district. Most of the stores 
cater to the mass market; there are no exclusive spe< 
shops. The north frontage of the blocks between Keai 1 
Stockton Streets is occupied by high-grade retail stores and 
banks, some with offices above them. However, the south 
side of the street between 3rd and 4th mainly is of a lower 
quality. Two penny arcades , a cheap movie theater, and one 
that features risque films tend to downgrade this block face. 
The Central Tower and Bank of America are the only high- 
rise office buildings. The site of the recently demci 
State Theater is used for underground and surface pa 

* Y 

ng — 



- Jk 111 -^ ^fet* T ~ '• 

Market Street's most vital retail block is between Stock- 
ton-4th Streets and Powell- 5th Streets. Here are clustered 
the highest volume Woolworth store in the world, the Em- 
porium, Hales, Samuels Jewelers, Sommer and Kaufman , 
Lerners, Milens, Graysons, Leeds, and Zukors. Intense 
retail activity continues across 5th Street on the south side 
where Penneys is located. Both the 12-story Flood Building 
and the 9-story Pacific Building occupy sites of over a half 

No new buildings have been constructed in this sector of 

Market Street since 1920 , but there has been considerable 

remodelling - between one and two million dollars worth 

1945 on both sides of the 3rd-4th Street blocks and be- 

ourand five million dollars worth on the 4th- 5th Street 

(building permit figures). 

sidewalks are thronged with pedestrians during the 
lopping nights. As one would expect on this 
if retail street , the typical crowd looks like a cross 
n of urban America. There are not many exquisitely 
i ed women , but there are relatively few in slacks . Aft- 
er store hours this part of Market Street becomes quieter , 
but there still is an overflow of window-shopping pedestrians 
from the amusement sector. 

4. Amusement Sector 

West of Powell-5th Streets the character of Market Street 
again makes a definite change. There are 13 moving picture 
theaters, including most of the first-run houses, in the 
blocks east of Hyde-8th Streets. Once these theaters (and 
the enormous Fox further up Market) were opulant amuse- 
ment palaces, drawing crowds from all parts of the city. 
Since the advent of television, Market Street movie patron- 
age has declined sharply. 
Although it is within a few hundred feet of some of the 
aostvaluable retail properties , thenorth side of Mar- 
ket between Powell and Mason mainly is occupied by poor 
quality tenants including a penny arcade. The blocks be- 
tween Mason and Jones Streets are no better . On the south 

i Market there are several high volume chain stores, 

including National Dollar, Kress, and Walgreens, between. 

5th and 6th Streets , but the rest of the establishments are 

only of fair quality. The sole high-rise office building in 

ctor is on the southeast corner of Market and 6th. 

:pt for Weinstein's strong chain outlet, the block be- 
tween 6th and 7th Streets is devoted primarily to low-grade 
commercial uses. Near the U.S.O. is a penny arcade, and 

further up the block are two theaters featuring risque movies . 
Conditions are even worse on the north side blocks between 
Jones and Hyde and on the south side from 7th Street west to 
the new Towne House. The Jones -Leavenworth blockhouses 
a penny arcade and three magazine stands featuring "girlie" 
magazines . A concentration of outlets catering to service- 
men's tastes has resulted from the proximity of the Grey- 
hound Bus Terminal. Except for the theaters, all of the 
frontage on these blocks is occupied by low quality tenants . 
Between Leavenworth and Hyde there even is a pawn shop. 
It is not surprising that stores and offices in the Orpheum 
Theater Building are vacant. 

Most of the buildings on Market Street between 5th and 8th 
were constructed before 1920. The larger theaters and a 
few other structures were built in the twenties. Investment 
in modernization since 1945 has been smaller than in the 
other sectors: between one and two million dollars on both 
sides of Market from 5th to 6th, between five hundred thou- 
sand and a million dollars from 6th to 7th, and only between 
one hundred thousand and five hundred thousand dollars from 
7th to 8th Streets (building permit figures). 

By day the crowds in the amusement sector are smaller 
than in the shopping district and markedly less prosperous- 
looking. The proximity of the tenderloin is fairly evident. 
At night, particularly on weekend nights, the young people 
arrive . The movies , the penny arcades , and principally the 
bright lights , the glamour , and the excitement of Market 
Street attract a predominately young crowd including many 
servicemen and people new in town. The boys prowl Mar- 
ket Street looking for excitement - and for girls; the girls 
prowl Market Street looking for excitement - and for boys . 
Generally their behavior is not disorderly. According to 
the Police Department , there are few arrests for drunken- 
ness or other violations of the law . Market Street is where 
these young people go at night because , in the words of one 
police officer, "It is their club." 

One problem created by the kind of patronage this part of 
Market Street attracts is litter . The sidewalks and gutters 
are spotted with gum and candy wrappers , popcorn bags , 
and theater ticket stubs . Trash receptacles are available , 
but frequently they are not used. 

5. General Commercial Sector 

From 8th Street west to Van Ness Avenue , Market Street 
is developed with an assortment of commercial uses . Prox- 
imity of the civic center, with its convention facilities, ac- 

counts for the presence of the recently modernized Whitcomb 
Hotel and the new Towne House motor-hotel with ground- 
level parking on a three acre site extending to Mission Street. 
The Whitcomb and a large parking lot (advertised for sale) 
occupymost of the frontage between 8th and 9th. Across the 
street, between Hyde and Larkin, is a very bad commer- 
cial block with several vacancies . 

The Fox Theater flanked by two parking lots fills the block 
between Larkin and Polk. This super-colossal, ornately 
decorated relic of Hollywood circa 1929 , is scheduled to be 
town down and replaced by a 16-story office building. Oppo- 
site the Fox between 9th and 10th Streets is the relatively 
new , well maintained wholesale Merchandise Mart, a block- 
long , nine story structure . The frontage on the north side 
of Market Street from Polk to Van Ness Avenue is mainly 
devoted to poor quality commercial outlets; there are two 
vacant stores. On the southwest corner of Market and 10th, 
several off ice stories recently have been added to a building, 
and it has been completely remodelled. West to 11th Street 
the block face is occupied by fair quality commercial out- 
lets including a large surplus store. The new eight story 
Bank of America Data Processing Center fills the block be- 
tween 11th Street and South Van Ness Avenue. The building 
was designed so that five more stories can be added. 

Many of the buildings in this sector of Market Street are 
only one or two stories high. Two house cheap hotels on the 
upper floors. Although the Civic Center is adjacent, there 
are few offices. With the exceptions noted, the buildings 
are old and their appearance is drab. The garishness and 
gaiety of the amusement sector are missing from upper Mar- 
ket Street. Except around the theaters and hotels , the area 
is fairly quiet both by day and at night. Investment in build- 
ing alterations since 1945 has not exceeded amillion dollars 
(building permit figures) on any of the blocks (both sides) 
from Hyde-8th Streets to Van Ness Avenue . 

Transportation on Market Street 

Over 2,000 transit vehicles, carrying 60,000 passe;. 
run on Market Street on an average weekday. Five street 
car lines, five trolley coach lines, and six motor coach 
lines operate along various portions of Market Street east 
of Van Ness Avenue. In addition, nine other coach lines 
have short stretches of their one-way loop routes on Mar- 
ket. As a result, transit vehicles represent a substan- 
tially higher per cent of total traffic on Market Street than 
anywhere else in the city. 

For a number of reasons Market Street does not carry a 
very heavy traffic load. Drivers tend to avoid Market be- 
cause of the delays caused by transit vehicles making stops. 
Left hand turns are prohibited so that the center lanes can 
be reserved for street cars . Most establishments on the 
south side have service access from alleys at the rear , but 
on the north side trucks double park, causing congestion. 
Traffic on some of the cross streets , particularly Main , 
1st, Fremont, New Montgomery, 3rd, 4th, 9th, 10th, and 
Van Ness Avenue, is many times heavier than traffic on 
Market Street. Pedestrian movements across Market are 
extremely heavy in the financial and shopping sectors . There 
are frequent, irregularly spaced, complicated intersec- 
tions, all of them signalized. The lights are synchronized t 
but they do not ease the flow of automobile traffic because 
they are set to facilitate transit movements and to favor the 
heavy cross traffic , and also because of the varyui_ 
tances between intersections. 

Driving across Market Street at the jogged inters^ 
is a harrowing experience for the unitiated . The worst con- 
gestion on Market occurs at the 5th-Powell-Eddy-Mason- 
Turk complex. Elsewhere congestion is no worse than mod- 
erate except during the peak hours, mainly in the evening. 

While the pedestrian once was king on Market Street 
cently in order to move traffic at some of the three way in- 
tersections , it has been necessary to install lagging phase 
signals. At some points on the north side, the pedestrian 
must walk from the curb to a traffic island and then wait for 
another light before he can cross to the other side. At other 
intersections the crosswalks force the pedestrian to tra 
two sides of the triangle , waiting for two signals , although 
his objective lies along the hypotenuse. 

There are no parking facilities on Market Street . 
under the new office buildings between Davis and Front and 
the Crown Zellerbach Building, and the open parking lots at 
the Towne House and Whitcomb Hotels and on the Fox The- 
ater block. Possibly , use of the State Theater lot for park- 
ingwill be temporary. Market Street is fortunate that there 
are many parking garages and lots within convenient walking 
distance but not fronting on Market. This avoids interrupt- 
ing the valuable continuity of commercial frontage ami 
ating the bombed-out look that mars other downtown areas . 
Most of the parking facilities serving Market Street are con- 
centrated north of the amusement sector and in the blocks 
south to Mission Street. The multi-level 5th and Mission 
Garage recently was expanded to 1500 spaces, and more 
parking structures are in the planning stage. 








The Prospects for Market Street 

The decline of Market Street is not unique . The same thing 
has happened to the main streets of many U. S. cities. But 
in most of these cities all of downtown is in trouble , while 
in San Francisco downtown has never been more prosperous. 
Although it is evident that Market Street is going. downhill, 
it is equally clear that its plight is far from hopeless . The 
Crown Zellerbach Building illustrates this paradox. It is 
the finest development ever built on Market Street; its plaza 
is a princely gift to the City. Yet, to avoid havinga Market 

address , the building fronts on Bush Street . It can- 
not be denied that Market Streetno longer is a good address; 
major stores and office buildings avoid using it. Market 
Street has lost its pr. 

he future prospects of at least some sectors of 
ause for optimism . Currently two ma- 
jor buildings are being modernized . The Home Mutual Sav- 
;id Loan (DeYoung) Building on the northeast corner of 
Market and Kearny and the Citizens Federal Savings and Loan 
Building on the northwest corner are being completely re- 
modelled. Standard Oil Company has acquired a large par- 
:.irket between 1st and 2nd Streets 
and will construct a 22 story office building with a 12, OCX) 
square foot plaza on the west side. The building will be a 
cower in the first stage but is planned to have a twin 
. The Wells Fargo Bank has announced 
-action of a 25 story office building on its present site 
at Market and Montgomery. The Carpenters Pension Trust 
Fund plans a comprehensive modernization of the 16 story 
building it owns at 6th and Market . The Lincoln Building at 
Sthand Market, owned by the San Francisco School District, 
will be sold or leased next year. It is likely that it will be 
remodelled, or possibly the old structure will be demolished 
and replaced by a high-rise building. 

A number of public projects , particularly in the fields of 
redevelopment and rapid transit, will bring radical improve- 
ments to Market Street. Construction of the apartment por- 
tion of the Golden Gateway Redevelopment Project north of 
Washington Street already is under way . Between Washington 
and Clay, the public garage with the Alcoa office tower over 
heduled to be built next year . The office sector of the 
project, including the Market Street frontage from Drumm 
robably will be completed by 1967. A major 
impetus to private improvements near the foot of Market 
will be the Ferry Building Park , a spacious urban pla- 
za that will extend from the Embarcadero to Steuart Street 
(and its extension north) and from Clay almost to Mission 
. Four million dollars of federal and City funds is 
available to finance the park, plans are underway, and it 
probably will be constructed in 1965. 

South of Market Redevelopment Project area extends 

>h. The irregular north boundary runs 

: between 2nd and New Montgomery, along Jes- 

fween New Montgomery and 3rd, along Stevenson be- 

3rd and 4th, and along Mission between 4th and 5th 

. If it were to prove advantageous to the property 

, the north boundary could be extended 

to include the south side of Market Street between 2nd and 
4th, and possibly slightly west of 4th Street. Likely uses of 
the present project area are offices , data processing cen- 
ters, commercial enterprises, warehousing, very light 
manufacturing, parking garages, and possibly a discount 
department store and a merchandise mart. Timing of the 
South of Market Project is not definite , but it may be under 
construction by 1965 and completed in 1968 or 1969 . 

At the November election the voters of San Francisco, 
Alameda , and Contra Costa Counties approved construction 
of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System. All areas that will 
be served directly or indirectly stand to gain , but none will 
gain more than Market Street. The rapid transit plans call 
for a two level subway under Market . On the lower level rap- 
id transit trains will run from the transbay tube to Franklin 
Street where they will branch off to Mission Street. On the 
upper level Municipal Railway streetcars will run from a 
terminal at Front Street to the Twin Peaks Tunnel. The 
streetcar tracks will be removed from the surface , and the 
space will become available for other uses. Stations will 
be located between Sansome and Montgomery Streets , be- 
tween Stockton and Powell Streets , and between Leavenworth 
and Larkin Streets for both interurban and local transit. 
There will be an additional station between Polk Street and 
Van Ness Avenue for Municipal Railway streetcars . 

Between the upper subway level and the street level there 
will be a continuous pedestrian mezzanine extending from 
Front Street to Van Ness , if the conventional cut-and-cover 
method of construction is used. However, it may prove pos- 
sible and desirable to compact the sand and to bore the sub- 
way without opening Market Street except at the stations . 
If the latter construction method is used , there will be 700 
foot long mezzanines at the stations instead of a continuous 

The Market Street subwaywill be built in 1965-67 andwill 
be in operation , along with the transbay tube , in 1967. Con- 
struction of the subwaywill not unduly disrupt Market Street . 
At least two traffic lanes will remain open at all times, and 
streetcars will continue to run. Construction will be done 
in sections,-no portion of the street will be dugupmore than 
four to eight weeks . Cuts will be planked over while the 
street is excavated. There will be a minimum of dust and 
dirt. According to the Rapid Transit District's Engineer, 
new construction and remodelling can safely proceed with- 
out fear of damage from subway construction . 

The Municipal Railway plans to continue running P.C.C.- 
type streetcars in the Market Street subway when it is built. 

This is the only type of vehicle that operates satisfactorily 
in the Twin Peaks and Duboce Tunnels . Present motor coach 
lines will continue to operate on Market Street. The Munic- 
ipal Railway has not purchased any coaches since 1960 and 
consequently has none of the latest type . Future orders are 
contemplated. The new busses probably will be similar to 
those used on the local lines of the Alameda-Contra Costa 
Transit District. No new trolley coaches have been pur- 
chased since 1951; evidently this is not San Francisco's lo- 
cal transit vehicle of the future . 

Considerably longer-range in nature are the Civic Center 
expansion plan prepared in 1958 and the Downtown Plan cur- 
rently in preparation . The Civic Center plan calls for a 
connection of 7th Street with McAllister to be cut through 
the Jones -Leavenworth block on Market Street. Leaven- 
worth would be closed from Market to McAllister . All but 
the east end of the block is to be acquired by the City. East 
of the new street the plan shows a landscaped area. West of 
the street to the Federal Building the property is to be used 
for a parking lot and landscaping . Except for the Orpheum 
Theater , all of the block between Leavenworth and Hyde is 
to be acquired for parking . 

Long-range plans of this type that do not include specific 
acquisition schedules tend to have a depressing effect on the 
properties to be acquired and, in some instances, on sur- 
rounding properties as well. Uncertain that they will re- 
ceive full value and unwilling to risk a court test, owners 
are loathe to improve their properties and sometimes do not 
even provide needed maintenance. It is impossible to ne- 
gotiate long-term leases at standard rentals. The threat 
of acquisition for Civic Center expansion may at least partly 
explain the poor condition of the buildings and the low qual- 
ity of the establishments on the north side of Market from 
Jones to Hyde . 

The Civic Center plan shows the block between Hyde and 
Larkiii developed with a new private commercial building 
with the design controlled. No other expansion of the Civic 
Center onto Market Street or across it is proposed. How- 
ever , the Civil Courts Building is to be located on the Mar- 
shall Square block , exposed to Market at Hyde and Grove 
Streets . Fulton Street is to be closed to traffic and land- 
scaped from Market to Larkin . 

The San Francisco City Planning Department, assisted by 
Architect Mario Ciampi , currently is working on a Down- 
town Plan to be completed in June 1963. The plan will in- 
clude the entire area bounded by Van Ness Avenue, Broad- 
way, the Embarcadero, and Howard Street. The Planning 

Department is responsible for the following aspects of the 
plan: pedestrian, automotive, and transit circulation; rapid 
transit; freeways; parking; redevelopment; zoning; and eco- 
nomic and locational studies. The architect is responsible 
for designing the Portsmouth Plaza area, the Market-Powell - 
5th Street area, the Civic Center area, and the Ferry Park 
and Embarcadero area. The designs are intended to illus- 
trate the potentials of these areas , to guide public improve- 
ments , and to inspire private projects . The City's program 
does not include cost estimates of each proposed improve- 
ment , financial feasibility studies , construction time sched- 
ules , or proposed methods of financing projects . 

The Downtown Plan will include architectural and landscape 
designs for two major Market Street focal points: thePowell- 
Market-5th Street area and the Ferry Building-Embarca- 
dero area. It also will be necessary for the architect to 
make certain assumptions about the treatment of the bal- 
ance of Market Street. Logically Market Street property 
owners and tenants may wonder whether they need to spon- 
sor a Market Street improvement plan when the City's Down- 
town Plan will cover a number of the problems that plague 
Market Street and will include detailed designs for two fo- 
cal points. The answer is that a privately sponsored im- 
provement plan would serve a different purpose and there- 
fore would vary materially from the Downtown Plan , though 
it need not be inconsistent with it . 

Most important , the need for Market Street improvement 
is immediate. A 10 year plan or a 20 year plan will not pre- 
serve present values or bring necessary changes in the next 
few years. Consequently the Market Street improvement 
plan should be short-range in nature , while the Downtown 
Plan will be long-range , looking a decade or two into the fu- 
ture. While the City's plan will include detailed designs for 
only two points on Market Street, the private plan should 
prescribe recommended architectural and landscape treat- 
ment for every block in the study area . The improvement 
plan should focus on individual and group private projects , 
although related public projects also should be included; 
while the Downtown Plan will focus on public projects , and 
its proposals for private improvements will only be inspi- 
rational or , possibly , will serve as bases for zoning or other 
regulations . 

Continuous, close coordination of the Market Street im- 
provement plan and the Downtown Han will be necessary for 
the success of both. Simultaneous preparation of the short- 
range , detailed private plan and the long-range , more gen- 
eral , public plan can be mutually advantageous . 

UUTodLcur Si<ju.S 

I , \Ce, Corw plGsV-^rS 

Poop-Vop but boards . 



^Avjcv ovsucJP rv^ajq^^rvv 

41 »* 


»jj ar-rcuu Of. 5b#--€eir puj.i^i 4-ujuj 

Market Street's Financial Picture 

Because Market Street is a vital part of downtown San Fran- 
cisco , the relationships of Market Street activities and those 
elsewhere in the central business district, and, in fact, in 
the entire Bay Area , are important to the economic future 
of Market Street. The fact that downtown San Francisco has 
maintained a high degree of central city dominance is dem- 
onstrated by a number of economic indicators: 

- Despite the development of outlying shopping centers with 
branches of major downtown stores , central district retail 
sales volumes have continued to increase . 

- Downtown employment is rising and now exceeds a quar- 
ter of a million . 

- Most of the 3 million square feet of office space constructed 
in San Francisco since 1950 is concentrated downtown . 

- Major freeway connections have greatly speeded access 
to the central district. 

- New garages and parking lots have provided thousands of 
additional parking spaces downtown. 

- Although San Francisco lost population between 1950 and 
1960 , new high-rise apartments under construction on Nob 
Hill and Russian Hill and in the Golden Gateway will strength- 
en the economic support base of the central business dis- 

- New hotels, such as the Towne House, Jack Tar, Fair- 
mont Tower, and Hilton, create additional patronage for 
downtown restaurants and entertainment , retail , and service 
establishments . 

Downtown San Francisco's regional dominance is the prod- 
uct of the interaction of factors such as these . Financial 
gains to both property owners and tenants have resulted. As 
an important part of the central business district, Market 
Street can share in these gains. There are three principal 
economic reasons why there is a strong potential demand 
for Market Street locations: 

1. Business headquarters and financial institutions need 

ai locations in the metropolitan core. 

2 . Prime sites are in short supply because of the compact- 
ness of the central business district, but there are sites of 
sufficient size for large buildings on Market Street. 

3. Transit service is excellent, and parking facilities are 
located conveniently nearby. 

Careful study of real estate trends in San Francisco, and 

cional capitols , will be necessary to de- 

ne the extent of demand by different types of businesses 

ad whether the market will grow 

:he future. However, it is evident that demand 

will be influenced by the quality of the environment as well 

as by such economic factors as site availability , land prices , 

and investment and tax goals of developers. 

aluationson Market Street between the Embar- 
cadero and Van Ness Avenue exceed $75 million, repre- 
nga market value over $320 million. It is significant 
that while total improvements values are more than doubie 
land values city-wide, on Market Street they are nearly e- 
qual. Land values account for almost 10 per cent of the 
total, but improvements values account for only 4.5 
per cent. Assuming the assessments reflect actual condi- 
Market Street real estate is underdeveloped. 
The land values on lower Market Street from the Embarca- 
derb to Drumm-Main appear to be holding relatively steady, 
and have greater potential because of the Golden Gateway re- 
development program . However , in the financial sector from 
Drumm-Main to Kearny -3rd Streets, land values already 
are higher than the pre -World War II and immediate post- 
war levels . A University of California Real Estate Research 
report indicates that front foot land values on Market Street 
between 1st and 2nd Streets ranged from $3,000 to $8,500 
in 1960 compared with $2,500 to $3,500 during the 1925-30 
period , and $2 ,000 to $4 ,000 in the early 1950 *s . Even after 
adjustment for changes in the value of the dollar, it appears 
that the upper range in 1960 was higher than the levels dur- 
ing the earlier periods. Such increases in land values ap- 
parently result from price-pressure created by recent real 
estate transactions and from construction of new office build- 
r of Market Street. 
The financial interests of Market Street would be best 
I by encouraging the maximum amount of office build- 
ing and financial institution construction between the Em- 
:cro and Kearny-3rd Streets , but there also is a strong 
potential for these types of land uses in the sectors to the 

The retail sector of Market Street still is one of the most 
important merchandising concentrations in downtown San 
Francisco. The popular price stores on Market Street are 
a vital element of the retailing strength of the central busi- 
ness district . Of the six major downtown department stores , 
three are located on Market . However , Hales is scheduled 
to move out. Typically department stores are the major 
customer-generators in central business districts and re- 
gional shopping centers because of their large size, mer- 
chandise selection, credit policies, advertising coverage, 
and customer loyalties. The "pull" of department stores 
benefits the smaller retailers and causes sales volumes and 
land values to rise. 

The total retail strength of a business district or shopping 
center is greater than the sum of the strength of its parts . 
As the number of department stores increases , their mag- 
netism grows disproportionately stronger. Rarely will an 
out-of-town department store be available to take over space 
abandoned by a tenant that goes out of business . However , 
logically one of the objectives of a Market Street improve- 
ment program should be recruitment of strong retail out- 
lets to occupy the strategically located space vacated by 
Hales . 

Between Kearny-3rd and Powell-5th Streets , Market Street 
property values have tended to be relatively stable over the 
past 30 years. However, a few years ago assessed valua- 
tions were reduced slightly , probably reflecting a downward 
trend in retail sales and store and office rents . Lack of 
new construction and failure to modernize stores , partic- 
ularly smaller outlets, indicate a weakening of the retail 
sector. Such deficiencies tend to be contagious; A doesn't 
remodel because B doesn't. Another source of infection is 
conversion of store buildings to penny arcades , hot dog 
stands, and "girlie " magazine stands. These kinds of es- 
tablishments discourage new investment and repel desir- 
able neighbors . 

It appears that despite the fact that downtown San Fran- 
cisco remains strong, the retail sector of Market Street is 
declining in vigor. An effort should be made to reverse 
this trend. A successful movement to enhance the retail 
commercial aspects of the street would give property values 
the biggest boost. The first step would be to determine the 
market opportunities for new and expanded stores and serv- 
ice establishments . If it turned out that major retail ex- 
pansion is not practical, an alternative method of arresting 
the trend toward marginal commercial uses would be con- 
version of store space into off ices and financial institutions. 



Remodelling of two large buildings at Market and Kearny, at 
the edge of the retail sector , for savings and loan associa- 
tion offices indicates the possibilities. 

The decline of motion picture theater patronage is a na- 
tional phenomenon . In the U . S . movie attendance reached 
its peak (90 million weekly) in the first few years after the 
war . Recently audiences have dwindled to about 40 million 
weekly , this during a period of rapid population increase . 

The theaters area genuine asset to Market Street because 
they attract nighttime visitors . Though the typical movie 
patron may not spend a large amount of money, the crowds 
create an air of activity during the hours when other down- 
town streets are deserted. An analysis should be made of 
the future of the motion picture business on Market Street, 
and a program should be formulated to increase patronage 
as much as possible . However , if the study demonstrates 
that there is a surplus of theater space , conversion to other 
uses should be considered. There is no simple answer to 
the problem of how to use the abandoned theater . The State 
Theater site now is a parking lot. In other cities, theaters 
have been converted to bowling alleys , furniture stores , and 
supermarkets . 

Because San Francisco is a convention center and an en- 
tertainment capital, it would be logical to explore the pos- 
sibilities of converting surplus moving picture theaters into 
legitimate theaters , meeting halls , theater-restaurants , or 
night clubs. These and similar types of establishments could 
take advantage of the bright-lights atmosphere of the amuse- 
ment sector, as well as the proximity of hotels and the a- 
vailability of transit service. This portion of Market Street 
might be turned into a "show street", a mecca for tourists 
like the Broadway- Columbus Avenue area. If .people with 
more money to spend wore attracted, restaurants, bars, 
and gift shops would find Market Street a profitable loca- 

Although many properties in the general commercial sec- 
tor (Hyde -8th Streets to Van Ness Avenue) are in deplorable 
condition, the outlook for this area is not entirely bleak. 
Construction of the Towne House and modernization of the 
Whitcomb Hotel are hopeful signs. The Bank of America 
Data Processing Center and the Merchandise Mart are typi- 
cal of large space-using facilities for which this is a suit- 
able location. Civic Center expansion will eliminate some 
of the blight and should stimulate construction of offices and 
other related establishments on both the north and south 
sides of Market Street. A study should be made of the most 
suitable kinds of uses for this sector. With land values 

significantly lower than in the retail and financial sectors 
and good transit service available (one interurban and two 
local subway stations are planned), it may well be possible 
to attract additional hotels, data processing centers, and 
other uses that need close-in but not central locations. 

Downtown Improvement Programs 

In recent years, main street and central district improve- 
ment programs have been undertaken in a number of major 
cities . Some of the programs now are in the action stage , 
and others already have been completed . These efforts range 
in scope all the way from face -lifting and "exterior decora- 
tion" to major clearance and redevelopment projects. A 
significant number of the programs have been sponsored by 
private or semi- public organizations. The activities of New 
York's Fifth Avenue Association over many decades pro- 
vided a model for other main street improvement programs. 

Chicago : The State Street Council has been responsible for 
improvement of the street's appearance by encouraging re- 
modelling and providing kiosks , information booths , andnew 
street lighting. The Council has been successful in persuad- 
ing the City to develop new parking facilities. Council funds 
are raised by assessing dues based on annual sales volumes 
of member stores. The Greater North Michigan Avenue 
Association has sponsored a landscaping program and light- 
ing displays . It has been instrumental in promoting con- 
struction of new buildings on and near North Michigan Ave- 
nue and has secured City-financed parking facilities to serve 
the area. The Association's membership dues are based on 
property values. 

Kalamazoo : The first permanent downtown pedestrian mall 
in the U.S. and new parking facilities were financed prin- 
cipally by merchants' and City contributions. A 15 percent 
sales increase in the first year after completion of the mall 
led to creation of the Downtown Kalamazoo Redevelopment 
Corporation which will sponsor additional improvements. 

Miami Beach : The Lincoln Road Mall Association devel- 
oped an elaborately landscaped, eight block mall at a cost 
of $600,000. Double decked parking lots were located ad- 
jacent to Lincoln Road prior to construction of the mall . The 
project was financed by an assessment district; the mall is 
maintained by the City . 

Knoxville : The Downtown Knoxville Association is spon- 
soringa $14 million improvement program including the Gay 
Street Promenade and Market Square Mall projects, remod- 
elling and enlarging the major department store, construe- 

tion of new parking facilities , and landscaping. Already the 
Promenade has been completed at a cost of $750,000, and 
adjacent buildings have had their faces lifted. 

Roch tru Plaza in downtown Rochester was 

sparked by the two leading department stores with the City 
cooperating. Clustered around an air-conditioned pedes- 
trian court are a new 18-story office building and hotel, a 
telephone company building , and new retail space , in addi- 
tion to the ex . hich have been completely mod- 
-,000 car underground garage is an integral 
part of • 
Pittsburgh : The Alleghany Conference, a group of private 
rking closely with public agencies, has 
backed major redevelopment of the downtown area including 
Mellon Square and the 330-acre Golden Triangle project, 

j_: The spectacular downtown renewal program 
includes both private and private-public projects . Penn Cen- 
i stores, office buildings, 
a hotel, and istructed on Pennsylvania 

Railrc. ncing. Independence Mall 

and ot: elopment projects are publicly 


Minneapolis : Now on the drawing boards is a unique plan 
for the improvement of Nicollet Avenue , the principal shop- 
ping street. A nine block mall, with two lanes left open for 
busses but no other vehicles , will be built at a cost of about 
$2 million. The Downtown Council of Minneapolis, a pri- 
-ociation, is the sponsor. 
Washington, D.C. : Downtown Progress (the National Cap- 
ital Downtown Committee), another private group , prepared 
nprovement plan for the central district 
ar. One of the immediate results of the plan was the 
President's appointment of a committee representing both 
public and private interests to make specific recommenda- 
tions on the improvement of Pennsylvania Avenue. 

Certain cha ire common to all the successful 

main?' nprovement programs. Although 

many of them have . and financed privately, in 

each case there has been at least strong city cooperation, 
and in a number of instances the city has participated. An- 
essential is close cooperation of property owners and 
3 in the area to be improved. But going along with the 
crowd really is not enough to get the job done. There must 
be leadership, enthusiasm, understanding, and willingness 
•k and to spend if the inertia of some short-sighted peo- 
ple and the opposition of others are to be overcome. 

S'tOr <_j - Qr\d - 

a - V><M£. tall 
Si^us that 

Obt. krak. 

bet i IcC«-*jC£ . 


«r n 



-2 MEW COLOR SP6|f 11 





1 & 

a 11; a 

v-v- - 



t2JU Ji&Ui!H 

■|>.H''jjjLY Wj l^^rtf^r*" 








The Look of Market Street 

Although there axe some bright spots on Market Street , its 
appearance leaves a great deal to be desired. In a city- 
known for its beauty, Market Street inspires no admiration 
and perhaps it arouses a little shame . Its ugliness is of 
several kinds . Old buildings of no particular merit merely 
have been allowed to deteriorate; handsome structures built 
30 years ago or more have been unsympathetically remod- 
elled or vulgarized with blatant signs; and new buildings of 
undistinguished design have replaced old ones . The things 
that make streets beautiful - trees , flowers , fountains , 
sculpture, artful illumination, well designed commercial 
displays - are largely lacking on Market Street. The things 
that make streets ugly - gaudy store fronts , chaotic jum- 
bles of signs, festoons of overhead wires, conglomerations 
of street furniture, trash and litter - are all too prevalent. 

Let's take a walk up Market Street, this time looking at it 
through the eyes of an architect and a landscape architect, 
and see what needs to be done to enhance its appearance and 
to give each sector a distinctive visual character. 

A Walk Up Market Street 

Start at the Embarcadero . The waterfront is almost a mis- 
nomer, for the Freeway and the Ferry Building have created 
an impenetrable barrier , at street level , to one of San Fran- 
cisco's most priceless assets - its marine setting. If rap- 
port with the Bay cannot be established by removing one or 
both wings of the Ferry Building, as suggested in an early 
Ferry Park study, at least there should be a ground level 
arcade where one could get through to the water and, once 
there, gain an observation point. 

It is important that the "beginning" of Market Street have 
a unique and special flavor. Remember that this area, now 
filled , was once the harbor. Is thereaway that the romance 
and color of our lusty waterfront can be recreated without 
tawdryness? The Ferry Building Park could be a great open 
space with canals , lagoons , and fountains that would revive 
the marine flavor by actually bringing the Bay back into the 
area . The atmosphere of European ports could be injected 
with handsome paving , sidewalk cafes , and fine restaurants . 
The freeway should be painted dark, and large trees should 
be planted to suppress its sight and its sounds. Difficult as 
all this may be , establish the Ferry Building Park area as a 
vibrant , alive , colorful place , used by day and at night , and 
it will send a tingle up the spine of Market Street. 

As one enters the financial sector, the block between Spear 
and Main Streets on the south side of Market would be an 
ideal location for a plaza about 100 feet deep, since it lies 
between the monumental Southern Pacific and Matson Build- 
ings. Bordering the plaza on the south could soar a very tall 
building - the mark of an important route into the city core 
from the Main Street freeway ramp. 

The California Street Cable Car Plaza gives a good idea of 
what can be done to bring delight to Market Street, but un- 
fortunately it is very small. If it could be extended to the 
fronts of buildings on California Street east of Drumm , where 
the street is not needed , the plaza might be large enough for 
a gay pavillion that would increase its visual dominance and 
provide shelter in the rainy season . 

In this sector, the north side of Market Street has an in- 
teresting silhouette of buildings of various heights and sizes. 
The angular, upward vistas of California, Pine, and Bush 

Streets lend excitement. Except where trees already have 
been planted in front of the tastefully remode lied building east 
of Davis Street, street trees are needed, and they well could 
start up the side streets, creating a green foreground to the 
glimpses into the heart of the city. Rows of regularly spaced 
street trees should be planted in front of the Southern Pacific , 
Matson, and P.G. and E. Buildings to give them proper ele- 
gance. But on the north side of Market, trees should be in 
irregular groups , harmonizing with the varied backgrounds, 
to lend contrast. 

The flood lighting of the dignified, classical P.G. and E. 
Building at night illustrates the potential of illumination to 
enrich the street. The handsome light fixtures demonstrate 
that symbols can be as effective as signs. 

From Davis Street west the graceless commercial quality 
of Market Street emerges. Few of the store fronts are a- 
bove average in appearance , and some are marred by bla- 
tant signs . Distinctive landscape treatment of each block 
would greatly enhance the appearance of the street. When 
rapid transit makes it possible to eliminate the streetcar 
tracks , planted medians with fountains and sculpture can be 
installed . But no one uniform , parkway-type treatment would 
be appropriate on Market Street. It should have a series of 
carefully designed urban landscape incidents , integrated and 
organized, but not uniform as on New York's Park Avenue. 

At the wide intersection of Davis Street, there is a wonder- 
ful opportunity for a punctuation point such as a fountain or 
a monument. The handsome Spreckels Building would bene- 
fit from tree planting and paving enrichment. At the narrow 
corner of the I.B.M. Building, on Front Street, trees and 
flowers are badly needed to soften the austere facade. 

Looking back at this point, one wishes that the Ferry Tower 
would rise out of treetops instead of abruptly appearing a- 
bove the freeway. But how much more stimulating is this 

When the rapid transit subway makes it possible to eliminate 
the streetcar tracks , planted islands with fountains and sculp- 
turecan be installed in themiddle of the street. No one uni- 
form , parkway type of treatment , but rather a series of care- 
fully designed landscape incidents, would be appropriate. 
With rapid transit stations open to the sky, Market Street 
would gain a unique dimension. On the north side are re- 
store fronts and a pedestrian arcade; on the south 
side, a uniform canopy. Trees are planted on both 

Q Q Qo n \ 

^ ^ \ J 

view than the vistas southward on Main , Beale , and Fremont 
Streets that disappear without visual accent intoa jumble of 
unkempt buildings , parking lots , and bridge ramps I At least , 
at the end of 1st Street, the "76" tower gives the vista a 
much-needed punch. Tree planting , at least as far south as 
Mission, would greatly enhance the appearance of these side 

At Battery Street , the treatment of the Mechanics Monument 
is one of the best examples of urban design in the City . Like 
the Cable Car Plaza , this island could be enlarged by taking 
over the unnecessary street space to the north. 

The Crown Zellerbach Plaza is a delight. Notice what a 
send-off it gives one up Sansome Street! On balmy days the 
plaza wall is such a popular seat that one wonders whether 
benches should be added. Night lighting of the trees would 
further enhance this unique jewel of Market Street . The tri- 
angular island at Sansome and Sutter should be landscaped 
and, possibly, connected with the block to the east. Need 
it only be a concrete roosting place for the wary walker? 

Ecker Street could beapleasant pedestrian link with Mis- 
sion Street. The public library on Market deserves more 
recognition than a converted store front gives it. The 
"TOYS" sign on this block is a prize example of a sign that 
begot a sign that begot a sign! Good sign design alone could 
do wonders for Market Street. When will the sign manu- 
facturers learn the lesson that the advertising and packaging 
industries learned so long ago? 

The Market-Montgomery-Post Street intersection is one 
of the busiest. It deserves a fountain, a piece of sculpture, 
planting. The pipe barricades that restrain pedestrians are 
ugly; bollards with chains could do the same job handsomely. 
The Palace Hotel gives a feeling of richness to this inter- 
section , and its night lighting (except for the roof sign) is 
superb - an oasis in the midst of gloom. But the building 

The pedestrian concourse level of the subway could be made 
joyful, safe, (and profitable) by opening it to the sky in the 
middle of the street when the car tracks are removed . The 
concourse would have fresh air and sunshine . Along both 
sides could be small shops , booths , and stands set back far 
enough from the open area to leave space for covered walks. 
There would be entrances to the stores on Market Street a- 
bove and show windows displaying their merchandise. 

would be greatly enhanced by planting large trees on Market , 
New Montgomery, and Annie Streets. Across Market be- 
tween Montgomery and Kearny , low canopies would make an 
attractive contrast . How pleasant it would be if all the mer- 
chants on this block got together and put up awnings of har- 
monious color and design! The one on the Bonanza Book Store 
should be copied by its neighbors in the same building. 

At Montgomery will be located one of the five local street- 
car and three interurban rapid transit subway stations on 
Market Street. Except in Moscow, Buenos Aires, and To- 
ronto, subway stations are traditionally sinister, gloomy, 
subterranean passageways . In fact , the San Francisco Police 
Department already has expressed misgivings about the pos- 
sibility of a continuous pedestrian mezzanine. This level of 
the subway could be made joyful, safe, (and profitable) by 
opening it to the sky in the middle of the street when the car 
tracks are removed. The pedestrian concourse would have 
fresh air and sunlight; it could be planted. Along both sides 
could be small shops , booths , and stands set back far enough 
from the open area to leave space for covered walks. And, 
of course , there would be entrances to the stores on Market 
Street above and show windows displaying their merchandise . 
If there were escalator access to these concourses , many 
people would use them instead of waiting for the signal to 
change before crossing the street - and some would stop to 
patronize the commercial outlets . The mezzanine would be 
lively and attractive, and would produce substantial income 
for the Rapid Transit District. And with the stations open 
to the sky, Market Street would gain a unique dimension that 
would add to its visual appeal. 

The Kearny-Geary Street intersection , an important gate- 
way into the heart of the shopping district , conveys only cha- 
os: pedestrian, vehicular, and visual. Lovely Lotta's Foun- 
tain is lost in the hubbub . It could be moved to another site , 
but this iswhere Tetrazzinisang. So why can't thefountain, 
on its tight little island, be given a fighting chance? Across 
the street , the Examiner , a very significant building, is clut- 
tered and almost anonymous at street level. The more im- 
portant a building, the more clean-cut its image should be. 
The Owl Drug sign at the southwest corner is two-dimen- 
sional mayhem. We would rather not look down 3rd Street, 
but there is nothing to block the view of this degraded patch 
in the city's fabric . Would a dias or a kiosk for the police- 
man usually stationed in the intersection and a change of 
pavement in the crosswalk divert attention from what lies 
beyond? When the South of Market project area is redevel- 
oped , transforming 3rd Street into a landscaped boulevard 

linking the central district and the S.P. station should be 

Grant Avenue offers probably the most inviting vista of all 
the streets that intersect Market. Why? The handsome A- 
merican Trust Company on the west corner teams with the 
Union Trust Building on the east corner to make an elegant 
portal to an elegant shopping street. Take a good look at 
San Francisco's most handsome mailbox in front of the A- 
merican Trust. How compatible it is with the building it 
serves - a splendid example of street furniture design. A- 
cross the street and up the block Liebes' awnings demon- 
strate what canvas can do to enhance a building's appear- 
ance. Now stand on Grant Avenue, and look south across 
Market Street at the four low buildings that terminate the 
view. Imagine them set back 50 feet to make room for a 
little "mall" with greenery, special paving, and a kiosk or 
flower stand, and a high-rise building behind. This kind of 
improvement might attract the Grant Avenue ladies to shop 
across Market Street. 

The unhappy block between 3rd and 4th Streets has a faded , 
chaotic visual character, despite some high class tenants. 
Arcades, new canopies, interesting paving, and street trees 
would help. The lofty Bank of America building should have 
its face washed (not lifted) and its dome gilded , for it is a 
handsome landmark on the weak side of Market Street. 

The north side between Grant and Stockton is dominated by 
Roos -Atkins; it has been tastefully unified with adjacent 
stores almost to the point of dullness. Moral: A retail shop- 
ping area needs variety; uniformity, even when well done, 
can be deadly. 

The parking lot on the State Theater site suggests what 
could be accomplished by creating a landscaped plaza , with 
a garage beneath, breaking the march of (existing) build- 
nd (proposed) street trees up Market. Both a new 
building on Stevenson Street and the Bank of America could 
front on the plaza , in effect doubling the "Market Street 
frontage" and enhancing the values of all surrounding prop- 
erties. Another advantage of the plaza: it would begin to 
reach over to Mission, a street that runs blindly on its way 
with nevera tie to Market. (The simple sign "PARK" on the 
new parking lot is one of the most effective on the street.) 
The same type of plaza with a high-rise building south of it 
on Stevenson Street , which could be arcaded with traffic run- 
ning through, also would be appropriate in a mid-block lo- 
cation. Here it would treble the amount of valuable frontage 
and probably far more than pay for itself. 

In front of the Emporium , Market Street is a pleasant place . 

The appearance of this handsome building will be enhanced 
by the recently planted street trees . There should be spe- 
cial paving across the sidewalk and extending across the 
street in the crosswalk to recognize the dominance of pe- 
destrian over vehicular traffic at this location . 

The view north on Powell Street, with Nob Hill in the back- 
ground, is particularly exciting. How difficult it is to ap- 
preciate the scene withall the clutter in the foreground! Even 
the grand , old Bank of America Building at Powell and Eddy 
has been defiled with a mammoth timepiece bearing mis- 
cellaneous advertising messages . This is only one of many 
handsome buildings that have been wounded by cheap, tinny, 
ugly signs that degrade them to the level of their tawdry 
neighbors. The Crocker-Anglo Bank, the Hibernia Bank, 
and various branches of the Bank of America all have suf- 
fered at the hands of the signmakers . 

The flatiron building at Market and Eddy is a horrendous 
example of how a small but strategically placed buildingcan 
act as an ashcan for all the visual trash in the area. Even 
its prow has been exploited with a tasteless, round carousel 
that, coupled with a specimen garden of man-made street 
litter, assails and harasses the pedestrian. The full length 
and half the height of this building are completely obliterated 
by painted signs. Even the windows have not escaped. And 
the coup de grace is administered by four immense billboards 
on the roof. 

The view south down 5th Street from Market has literally 
been thrown away. The historic old Mint and the interest- 
ing Chronicle building should be brought into focus. Would 
trees at the Mint , with the Chronicle tower rising above their 
tops, indicate something special here? 

Penneys is a good example of the tasteful remodelling of 
the ground floor of a fine , old building with careful signing, 
street trees , and one of the few flower stands on the south 

A mid-block landscaped plaza terminated by a high-rise 
buildingon Stevenson Street would treble the amount of valu- 
able commercial frontage and probably would far more than 
pay for itself. The building could be arcaded over the 
which would be left open for service traffic . 


side of Market . Contrast this with the ugly new facade of 
Woolworths diagonally across the street that murders the 
lower stories of the once elegant Flood Building. This is only 
one of many handsome, classic buildings that have been re- 
modelled insensitively, causing Market Street to lose much 
of its distinctive , lordly character . When stores are given 
new fronts or entire buildings new skins , care should be taken 
to ensure that the new has a sympathetic relationship with 
the old . 

On any of the long blocks in the retail sector , pedestrian 
arcades through the ground floor of buildings or between them 
would provide useful connections with parking facilities on 
Mission or on the streets north of Market. Not more than 
25 feet of frontage would be lost, and much more would be 
gained along the arcades which would be appropriate loca- 
tions for small shops, cigar stands .news stands, shoeshine 
stands, and similar establishments. 

And now we arrive at the amusement sector. Even the 
mood and make-up of the crowds here is different. People 
leisurely meandering, stopping, looking, sunning; many 
servicemen off duty. However corny and jazzy the street 
facade , the area has color and movement which should be 
emphasized. This sector should be designed to accommo- 
date it to the mood of the people. Let's organize it so it 
really has the daytime gaiety and the nighttime fantasy an 
amusement district should have. The refreshment stands 
and other small establishments that abound here could be 
clustered and recessed in arcades to create intimate pock- 
ets out of the current of the street. The self-defeating con- 
test of signs that claw their way out to the curb line should 
be replaced with flat signs that need be no less gay and live- 
ly but could be seen. Within the arcades and elsewhere, 
there should be benches (without advertising messages) . One 
should be able to sit on something besides trashcans , or lean 

On any of the long blocks in the retail sector, pedestrian ar- 
cades through the ground floor of buildings would provide 
useful connections with parking facilities on Mission or on 
the streets north of Market. Not more than 25 feet of front- 
age would be lost, and much more would be gained along the 
arcades which would be appropriate locations for small shops , 
restaurants, bars, cigar stands, news stands, shoeshine 
stands, and similar establishments. 

on mailboxes . Colorful flowerbeds would be very much in 
key with the character of the area. 

The movie theaters , it seems , should make a concerted 
effort to spruce up and to restore some of their tarnished 
splendor. Certainly one could do better than the remodelled 
United Artists with its repaintable billboard facade and wind 
streamers . The theaters are too far apart with little hap- 
pening between them. Perhaps the festive atmosphere could 
be sustained by installing specially designed, lower light 
standards interspersed with the existing ones , or arches of 
sparkling lights across the sidewalks. Design of electric 
signs could be coordinated with the illumination . 

Planting street trees along McAllister Street would estab- 
lish a link with the Civic Center. At 7th Street, it would be 
a happy thing to have a planted median with a strong visual 
accent, such as a fountain or sculpture, in the middle of 
Market Street . 

From here west, Market is in need of major rehabilita- 
tion . The answer may be the much discussed , but never im- 
plemented , effort to link the Civic Center with Market Street . 
To do this effectively, sweeping views into the Civic Center 
must be created, and, conversely, the vistas from the Cen- 
ter to Market Street must not terminate in junk. Opposite 
the Market-Fulton intersection, why not a plaza on the south 
side of the street surrounded by important commercial build- 
ings or government offices? If the Civic Center Plan is car- 
ried out, the two blocks between Jones and Hyde will be o- 
pened up, and when the Hyde-Larkin block is reconstructed 
(as proposed in the plan) , views into the Civic Center should 
be created. Thus our Civic Center, one of the most beauti- 
ful in America , could give tremendous support to Market 
Street . 

The Towne House certainly needs strong tree planting in 
its parking lot. The gigantic painted sign on the east end of 
the adjacent building cheapens the open space created by 
setting back the Towne House from the street. Fortunately 
the Market Street facade of theWhitcomb Hotel has not been 
painted a virulent green like the other elevations. A good 
looking porte cochere, special paving, and organization of 
the leased space east of the entrance so that the columns 
would reappear, together with street trees and special light- 
ing, would help the front of the building immeasurably. A- 
cross the street, the Pioneer Monument needs space of its 
own in a plaza, to be appreciated. 

The recently remodelled building on the southwest corner 
of Market and 10th seems an example of what not to do. If 
allowed to proliferate, the aluminum strip and glazed panel 

would make Market Street tinny, transient, and typed, just 
like every other main street in America. Although they may 
not be architectural masterpieces, our buildings of the past 
by contrast look real, solid, and permanent, even after their 
underpinnings have been attacked. 

Market and nue should be a visually impor- 

tant intersection. The new Bank of America Data Proces- 
sing Center could be the keystone. The ugly low buildings 
on the northwest and southwest corners, surmounted by bill- 
boards, are the ultimate indignities and should be replaced. 
jn Van Ness would lead one back to the Civic 

ns and Observations 

As we have walked up Market Street, we have mused on what 
we saw and freely improvised on how it should be changed. 
These are essentially random impressions, spontaneous i- 
deas, that have yet to be critically studied. However, it is 
clear that two categories of change are needed. One is a 
program of private rehabilitation such as successfully trans- 
formed Jackson Square and Maiden Lane in relatively few 

. The other category requires the action of public 
agencies. The two programs should be closely coordinated 
both in design and timing so as to be mutually sustaining. 

The public projects - landscaped medians and plazas , foun- 
tains , sculpture , open pedestrian concourses in the subway - 
are essentially linear and will tend to be monumental and 
rather formal. But the five Market Streets should have five 
distinctive characters, and urban landscape design appro- 
priate for one will not do in the others. Within each of the 

rs , private improvements can be more consciously cha- 

,iulti-facetted, prismatic, but to achieve the desired 
effect they must be carefully designed and coordinated. 

na building is remodelled, the basic design and struc- 
ture of the original should be retained. Its relationship to 

nt buildings should be considered. Applying terra 
cotta and aluminum as cosmetics simply results in a cheap 
looking, multi-story "store front". New buildings should 
heed the scale and character of their settings and respect 
neighbors. In every case signs should be an 
integral part of the design of the structure , not excrescences. 
ir the property owners could form their own sign 
itablishing distinctively appropriate de- 
ferable landscaping is needed on Market Street, both 
Wherever possible , 

the triangular islands on the north side should be joined with 
their parent blocks and landscaped , even if traffic patterns 
must be changed. Tree planting can be an important link, in- 
tegrating Market Street with surrounding areas. Street fur- 
niture - news stands , flower stands , planters , electroliers , 
mailboxes , trashcans , directional signs - all need to be de- 
signed to harmonize with each other and with the sector in 
which they are located . The City should rationalize thecon- 
fusingarraysof official signs that sprout from almost every 
pole, so that they can be readily seen and understood. 

Skillful illumination of buildings and adjacent sidewalks can 
contribute greatly to the nightscape . The handsome 
troliers, dating from the 1915 Fair, have just been repainted 
and more powerful lamps have been installed. The bluish- 
green glow is hardly conducive to warmth and gaiety, but the 
new lamps are the best now available without sacrificing 
light. When better colors come on the market, the lamps 
should be replaced. The electroliers should do as much for 
Market Street as the Grant Avenue fixtures contribute to 
Chinatown . 

A cheerful visual note would be added if the local shoppers 
shuttle were an attractively designed, self-powered eli 
train instead of just another motor coach. Many people go 
out of their way to ride the cable car; a colorful shuttle might 
have the same effect. 

On our walk up Market Street , we have suggested three 
basically different kinds of improvements. One is the rela- 
tively inexpensive facelifting and landscaping of private 
properties , which can be accomplished in a few years. An- 
other is the various public projects, ranging all the way from 
sign reform to rapid transit. The third category is large 
scale private improvements, such as major remodellingand 
new high-rise buildings fronting on plazas , that may not be 
realized until the late 1960 's. 

The festive atmosphere of the amusement sector could be 
sustained by installing specially designed, lower light stand- 

terspersed with the existing ones , or arches of spar- 
kling lights across the sidewalks. Design of electric signs 

i coordinatedwith the illumination. This part of Mar- 
might be turned into a "show street". 


Ulr\ifGrrv-\ Aujr.iwfi$ 

P«d*sW«ao jCr^a^d ^o/^#ckc) uu, k^ T^to^u: 

Blueprint lor Action 

It is clear that Market Street urgently needs improvement, 
and it is equally clear that there is a strong base from which 
to start. Recent developments, projects' now underway, and 
others in the planning stage give strong hope for the future . 
But what is needed is a coordinated development program for 
the entire street. If it is to have the desired effect, the im- 
provement plan should be essentially short range in nature. 
If it is not substantially carried out within five years or so , 
Market Street well may have retrogressed past the point of 
no return, as have the main streets of many U. S. cities. 
It would make sense if the improvements were completed at 
about the same time as the rapid transit subway opened 
(1967). All five sectors of the street should be attacked at 
once . None can thrive as long as Market Street is not a 
good address . Past experience has demonstrated that piece- 
meal or spot improvements will not accomplish the needed 
results . 

Both private and public projects should be included in the 
plan. Improvements for all private properties in 
change should be designed in sufficient detail to estinu 

>sts accurately. Other projects not on private property, velopment and improvement projects that already have been 

such as lighting, street furniture, paving, and landscaping, 
that may have to be financed privately or by assessment dis- 
tricts , also should have price tags put on them . Every prop- 
erty owner and tenant should have sufficient information on 
which to base a sound judgment as to whether investment in 
the proposed improvements will be financially worthwhile. 
Public projects included in the plan should be closely geared 
to the private development program. Here again cost esti- 
mates will be essential so that capital expenditures can be 
budgeted year by year in step with private improvements . 
The City will receive two dollars in federal aid for every 
dollar spent on projects that serve redevelopment areas , 
such as the Golden Gateway and South of Market projects . 

Development Program 

To accomplish these objectives , a major private -public ef- 
fort will be essential. There must be a financially feasible 
improvement plan and a strong , active organization to carry 

Improvement Plan 

Preparation of a Market Street improvement plan will involve 
five steps. 

1. Market Studies . Real estate consultants must analyze 
present trends in property values , costs of recent improve- 
ments , assessments , taxes , rents , lease terms , and other 
pertinent economic factors , comparing conditions on Market 
Street with those elsewhere in downtown San Francisco and 
in comparable locations in other cities. A careful study 
should be made to determine the present and prospective fu- 
ture market for various types of stores , service establish- 
ments, office buildings, financial institutions, hotels, res- 
taurants , theaters and other amusements , and data proces- 
sing centers and other specialized activities. This study 
should deal primarily with short -range trends so that Market 
Street property owners can know what scale of development 
they realistically can anticipate. It will be necessary to in- 
vestigate market prospects in the entire central business 
district and then to determine Market Street's share of the 
total, making various assumptions about the scale and timing 
of the development program and about rapid transit subway 

rban Development Studies . Market Street planners 
should make a detailed inventory and analysis of present de- 

announced. The effects of the Golden Gateway Redevelop- 
ment Project and the Ferry Building Park, the South of Mar- 
ket Redevelopment Project (with and without its boundaries 
changed), rapid transit plans , the Municipal Railway's plans 
for surface transit, the Parking Authority's plans, the Civic 
Center plan, and proposals of the Downtown Plan should be 
analyzed. Whether the present functional division of Market 
Street into five sectors is advantageous , and how this might 
be changed should be explored. An investigation should be 
made of the adequacy of present parking facilities serving 
Market Street and the extent of future needs , based on the 
same alternate assumptions as the market studies. Present 
and projected future traffic volumes and patterns similarly 
should be studied. All of these investigations must be made 
looking at Market Street in the context of the entire central 
business district. The planners should submit recommen- 
dations on the future uses and character of each of the sec- 
tors of Market Street and their immediate tributary areas, 
and recommendations on parking, traffic circulation, and 

3 . Design Studies . Urban designers , architects , and land- 
scape architects should prepare a detailed analysis of the 
present appearance of Market Street, block by block and lot 
by lot, and decide what should be conserved, what should be 
changed, and what the changes should be. The architects 
then should prepare preliminary plans and cost estimates for 
the recommended treatment of each property including re- 
furbishing, remodelling, new construction, and new signs. 
To give each sector of Market Street a distinctive character, 
it might be advisable to assign each to a different architect. 
In this case, to avoid jarring results, one firm should be 
responsible for coordinating all of the designs. The land- 
scape architects should prepare preliminary plans and cost 
estimates for the treatment of public and private plazas , 
streets , subway concourses , and other open spaces , includ- 
ing such items as planting, pavements , fountains , sculpture 
and other embellishments, street furniture, and illumina- 
tion. Other architects and landscape architects may be re- 
tained by private property owners, lessees, the City, and 
the Rapid Transit District to prepare the detailed plans and 
working drawings of the projects as they are constructed. 
This will be satisfactory, in fact desirable to avoid a too- 
uniform look, provided that the concepts of the original, 
coordinated designs are followed. Needless to say, the pre- 
liminary plans will be essential for estimating costs. 

4. Financial Feasibility . The next step will be a financial 


Kla>iror\ Ru»ld4M<j uui'Mn Ground PW-a r G p<*n»cJ 


^O^ — j& ZZ- — ~ 

pi<X+-ir cro f"tu_ildLwQ UJt t~K ^OrkjcT K<*ryOV >J 

M«d - bioovc Pea<rK-Vo.iu ArcodU. 

BuuicLm<[S 2*f- toaeW: +o CV^ak. *Aall 

feasibility study, made by the real estate consultants , com- 
paring the estimated costs of the proposed improvements 
with the projected benefits they will yield. Their effects on 
sales volumes , property values , and rents over their amor- 
tization periods must be reckoned. The fact that a compre- 
hensive program will bring greater returns than individual 
investments in improvements should be taken into account. 
Provided that the results of this analysis are favorable , var- 
ious methods of financing should be explored. Possibilities 
include individual private investments; group projects fi- 
nanced by voluntary contributions, by an assessment dis- 
trict, or by a development corporation; City-sponsored im- 
provements ; and projects utilizing the federally-aided urban 
renewal process. 

5. Improvement Program . As the final step, the property 
owners, the lessees, the City, the Rapid Transit District, 
and the other agencies involved should agree on a definite 
time schedule for construction of each project and the method 
for financing it . Guided by such a program , private and pub- 
lic interests could proceed to invest with confidence in Mar- 
ket Street improvements , knowing that they can anticipate the 
larger dividends that a coordinated effort will produce . 

The cost of preparing such an improvement plan will be 
the sum of the real estate consultants', city planners', ar- 
chitects', landscape architects', and graphics designers' 
fees , plus presentation , public relations , and administrative 
costs. The planning costs could be shared on the basis of 
any one of a number of formulas that have proved equitable 
and workable elsewhere. Some that deserve consideration 
include front foot or square foot assessed values, value or 
floor area of improvements , retail sales volumes of stores 
and rents derived from office space, and various combina- 
tions of these factors. The formula selected might be ad- 
justed to give weight to the amount of work involved in plan- 
ning particular sectors, blocks, or properties. Because of 
its great financial stake in the future of Market Street, the 
City should contribute to the cost of the plan , as well as pay- 
ing for its share of the improvements . 

Permanent Organization 

To sponsor preparation of the improvement plan and to be 
responsible for its being carried out, a permanent organi- 
zation of Market Street property owners and businessmen 
should be formed. The Market Street Development Project 
Steering Committee could be the nucleus. The organization 
should have a budget sufficient to employ an executive di- 

rector and necessary staff, to rent offices, to retain con- 
sultants and incur other expenses incidental to preparing the 
plan, and, most important, to ensure that the program is 
translated into action . Dues in the association could be based 
on the same formula as sharing the cost of the plan , or a 
variation of it. 

Experience in cities with successful development programs 
demonstrates that continuous coordination, surveillance, 
prodding, and promotion will be necessary. A single indi- 
vidual , with the ability to inspire confidence in the property 
owners , the businessmen , and the City, must work full time 
on the job , and he must have adequate staff support. He will 
be responsible for raising funds to finance preparation of the 
plan, for checking on progress on the plan, for securing 
agreement on its proposals , and for ensuring that the pro- 
gram is carried out on schedule and in accord with the plan . 
To achieve these purposes will require continuous contact 
with private individuals and groups involved in the develop- 
ment of Market Street and with the City, the Rapid Transit 
District , and other public agencies . 

During the period when the program is being carried out 
and after it is completed, the association also could engage 
in various activities to promote business. It should take all 
steps necessary to stimulate new private and public invest- 
ment in Market Street. And the association must be con- 
tinuously on the alert to assure that properties are adequately 
maintained, that anti-litter and other applicable ordinances 
are enforced, that new business establishments are appro- 
priate, and that new improvements conform with the plan. 

Revitalization of Market Street will be a big order , but not 
too big for San Francisco. This is the city that built Golden 
Gate Park, the magnificent Civic Center, the Bay Bridge , the 
Golden Gate Bridge, and the Panama Pacific and Golden Gate 
International Expositions. Carrying out the Market Street 
development program will be less difficult , less complicated , 
and probably considerably less expensive than any of the 
city's three redevelopment projects now in the construction 
stage -but it is equally important. We are not starting from 
scratch. Most of what exists on Market Street deserves to 
be conserved or, at least, salvaged. Investments in M 
Street improvements will pay dividends. 

The Golden Gateway and South of Market Redevelopment 
Projects, the Ferry Building Park, the ( xpanr 

sion program, and particularly the rapid transit subv 
ventually will do wonders for Market Street . Enlightened 
interest dictates that now is the time forM 

Data Sources 

San Francisco Assessor's Office 

San Francisco Department of City Planning 

San Francisco Municipal Railway 

San Francisco Police Department 

San Francisco Redevelopment Agency 

San Francisco Traffic Engineering Division 

San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District 

Project Staff 

Report writing and project coordination: Lawrence Livingston, Jr. , Livingston 
and Blayney. 

Market Street's Financial Picture: D. R. Eberhart, Larry Smith and Co. 

The Look of Market Street and design concepts: Lawrence Halprin and 
Donald Ray Carter, Lawrence Halprin and Associates; George T. Rockrise 
Rockrise and Watson. 

Drawings: Denis Wilkinson, Lawrence Halprin and Associates; George T. 

i : Jerry Stoll. 
Report Design: G. Dean Smith.